Dejavu: Components and IDEs

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Dejavu: Components and IDEs

John J. Dooley
My recent puzzling about Python's IDE and module support got me to thinking
along the following lines. As systems mature, useable subsystems become
componentized (Microsoft (D)COM, chip cells, Linux packages, etc). Once this
starts to
happen, design systems(Visual Basic IDE, Cadence CAD, RPM/Synaptic etc.)
become
possible. This seems to be a recurrent pattern: as systems become larger
there is an
attempt to systematically componentize units and to provide tools for
assembling
them.

I observed this transistion in the microprocessor design industry. At the
start of my experience, chips were designed with tools developed as needed.
This period saw the designer population increase and the typical designer
profile change. Armies of newly minted "Carver Mead" designers soon out
numbered the
pre-CAD veterans. The transition was not smooth and many veteran designers
had
misgivens. The co-evolution of component and Computer Aided Design took
wasn't
instantaneous and  some veteran designers had some misgivings along the way.

Visual Basic and ActiveX/COM seems to have followed a similar path. Perhaps,
RPMS, and Synaptic is having a similar effect on  expnaded use of Linux.

My guess is that the population of Python developer would increase an order
of
magnitude given a mature components and design composition(IDE) tools. This
popularization by making things easy is not necessarily of top interest or
priority to the majority of Python verterans.

Stephen Deibel of Wingware said that Wing simplicity was a common request.
The
most interested in a VB/ActiveX like evolution may be the 9 million newbie
developers that are enabled once the component/IDE chasm is bridged. It may
be
that demand for IDE is closely coupled to availability for standardized
components. Without a large inventory of ready components, the IDE is an
alternative editor.


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